Chiropractic Association Issues Gardening Safety
In the International Chiropractors Association's (ICA) July 5th 2001
issue of the Chiropractic News Service appears tips and warnings
concerning safe gardening related to spinal health. Because of the
emphasis on a healthy spine relating to a healthy nervous system and
therefore overall good health, the ICA issued the gardening tips as a
preventative measure. The ICA release starts by saying, "The
best preparation for safe summer gardening is a body properly conditioned
and supported by exercise, good posture, and chiropractic care all year
The ICA went on to recommend a list of 10 ďDoís and Doníts of
GardeningĒ These guidelines are designed to help you garden safely.
The ICA's Doís and Doníts of Gardening
- Warm up with light movement or a brisk walk to loosen your muscles
and increase your flexibility. The smooth coordination of your muscles
and ligaments is an important part of safe exertion in gardening and
- Know your strengths and limitations. Do not overexert, vary your
activities, and take regular rest breaks.
- Avoid bending over repeatedly while standing upright when performing
ground-level work like weeding. Get down closer to the task by
kneeling or sitting on the ground or a gardening bench, rather than
bending and twisting from the waist.
- Keep your back protected when you stand up from a sitting or
crouched position. Rise up by straightening your legs at the knees,
not by lifting your torso at the waist.
- Lift dirt and plants by letting your arms, legs and thighs carry the
load: bend and straighten at the knees instead of the back and hips.
Lift the load close to the bodyís torso and center of gravity, and
handle smaller, more manageable loads at a time.
- Use long-handled tools to give you leverage and help you avoid
having to stoop while raking, digging, pushing or mowing.
- Switch hands frequently when doing prolonged raking, hoeing or
digging actions. Repetitive motion on one side can bring on
progressively serious joint imbalances and may produce postural
misalignments and pain, including muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder
and lower back.
- Donít work too long in one position, especially one that is
awkward or unusual. This can reduce circulation, restrict mobility,
and promote strain injuries.
- Carry objects close to your body. Keeping the load close to your
center of gravity reduces the risk of straining your neck and back.
- Donít overexpose yourself to long periods in the sun. Utilize
protective measures for your head and skin, drink plenty of fluids,
and take frequent breaks.